Episode 014: Open Houses – Part 1


In this episode of the Real Estate Marketing Show we talk about open houses. And not just any open house, but “mega open houses.”

The average open house attracts 15 to 20 couples. A good open house attracts 30 to 50 couples. But a mega open house attracts 50 – 100 couples.

The first rule of holding an open house is to know why we are holding an open house. Here’s your why. You hold open houses to find more sellers.

Yes, we wouldn’t mind selling the home we are holding open. But the open house is the bait to attract other sellers. And if you’re willing to do an open house, there is profit in there for you.

So, how do we tailor our open house marketing and preparation towards finding more sellers?

Active vs Passive Marketing

Open houses can act as both active and passive marketing. It’s passive in that you do, to some extent, get to sit there while people come to you. But your preparation before hand needs to be active.

So let’s talk about the active marketing aspect. Let’s assume you’re doing a Sunday open house. And you want a mega open house.

Your open house for Sunday starts the Monday before. 90% of your open house’s success is what you do during the week leading up to the open house.

Prep the Neighbors

You want to create neighborhood buzz. Get the neighborhood excited that you’re going to have an event there.

Go knock doors, give out flyers, or mail postcards. You never know, maybe that neighbor knows someone who wants to move into the neighborhood.

Open houses postcard used by Mike Bjorkman

Enlist Your Sellers

Get your sellers to tell everyone they know. Have them email the virtual tour link to everyone in their database. Make sure they tell their coworkers. Enlist them as your marketing partner.


An average agent holds an open house from 1 to 4. But you need to be willing to do what the average agent can’t or won’t. Why not make a full workday of your open house?

Hold your open house from 9 to 6. Weather and time of year depending of course.

Invite the neighbors to a “brunch preview” from 9 to noon. Have a special drawing just for neighbors.

Events to Feature Open Houses

Don’t just sit at the dining room table during your open house. You’re throwing your own party. And the guests invite themselves.  If you want to take your open house to the next level, try these tips:

  • Partner with a local lender and throw a BBQ
  • A petting zoo is great for attracting kids, which in turn attracts their parents
  • Hold a drawing for gift card
  • Have a coloring contest for kids
  • Create a charity giveaway

Use Technology

Bring a printer so that you can do market evaluations on the spot. No going back to your office. No potential seller waiting for your email. Bang, it’s on the spot. Put it in your folder, which also happens to be your pre-listing package with all your testimonials, recent sales, and your market plan.

Don’t forget your iPad. Put it on a stand and have visitors sign themselves in. People love to fiddle with new technology. And they are way more willing to give you more information and answer questions. Especially if that information is how they enter into your drawing.

Take a third screen and always have your introductory video playing on a loop. Keep this screen somewhere else in the property where you can have the volume up, but it will not interrupt your conversations.

Get In My Belly

If you’re throwing a BBQ, then you may have the food think covered. But if you’re not, then try and make your food a little unusual, but popular. Mike calls it “guilt food.”

Think about foods that have a higher than normal perceived value. When Mike was starting out he offered Snapple; a then just emerging beverage.

The perceived value for this new product was high. So when the customer took the Snapple, they felt like they owed Mike some of their time in return.

Also, when you eat with someone you are bonding. A good salesman never eats alone.

Where to Advertise Your Open Houses

Our internal research shows that 50% of your market comes from signs. And 50% comes from the internet. Do whatever you can to boost those numbers. You can try:

  • Internet syndication
  • MLS
  • Facebook ads (get super geographical with the power editor)
  • Local paper
  • Put out 100 signs to do a mega open house. Anything within ½-mile of your property is fair game. Cover all the possible entrances to your community.
  • Try balloons or customized tall flags. Anything to bring attention.

Also Mentioned In This Episode: